“Truth is an empty cup.”
Frank Herbert

Chapter House Dune

Arjuna and Me

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I’ve been thinking of Arjuna again these past few days. I’ve been thinking of him from a perspective I’ve been locked into from my first introduction to Arjuna (not very original). I’ve written before about the settings of the the Bhagvad Gita and Arjuna, but this time I would like to call upon a great summary by Leonard Cohen:

“There is a beautiful moment in the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna. The general. The great general. He’s standing in his chariot. And all the chariots are readied for war. And across the valley, he sees his opponents. And there he sees not just uncles and aunts and cousins, he sees gurus, he sees teachers that have taught him; and you know how the Indians revere that relationship. He sees them. And Krishna, one of the expressions of the deity, says to him, “you’ll never untangle the circumstances that brought you to this moment. You’re a warrior. Arise now, mighty warrior.” With the full understanding, that they’ve already been killed, and so have you. “This is just a play. This is my will. You’re caught up in the circumstances that I determine for you. That you did not determine for yourself. So, arise, you’re a noble warrior. Embrace your destiny, your fate, and stand up and do your duty.”

When I was introduced to Arjuna’s story I felt lost – so in a way I was envious of Arjuna. Sure he had a difficult situation to resolve – but the resolution was right under his nose. Arjuna had a duty, a clear dharma – he was a warrior – all he had to do was follow that track wherever it took him.

2.31: Seeing your righteous duty you should not tremble, for there is nothing better for a warrior than a righteous battle.
2.32: Happy are the warriors who find such a battle that has come of it’s own momentum.

(Translation by Swami Rama)

What was my duty? What path was I supposed to follow? What was my purpose? This was some years ago and though I feel I’ve come a long way since then these questions resurface.

  • It comes up mostly when I experience a volatile combination of free time and shortage of money.
  • I am more vulnerable to it when I go from being engaged with others to being alone again.
  • It has strong vibrations of “survival” thinking that was ingrained into me.
  • I am not trying to answer it anymore.
  • It disturbs me.
  • Thinking about it raises self-doubt.
  • Living with it keeps me vigilant.
  • It reminds me to revisit my actions and the vibrations they have left in their wake inside me.
  • It doesn’t immobilize me (well at least not for long :).
  • It does keep me in the dark about what I should do next (but not for long :).
  • It reminds me to appreciate the space in between and to practice surrender.
  • It reminds me to stay in tune and open to what may come next.
  • If I wait patiently it usually fades away on its own.

Today, right now, there’s a part of me that wishes for a clear and specific understanding, one that would enable to create more engagement with the world. One that I could both carry with me close to my heart and communicate to others. It’s there, but it’s elusive.

I couldn’t find (though it’s out there somewhere) a video with the above quote from Leonard Cohen. I did come across this one:

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